Monday, September 17, 2012

dolphins and unicorns and football, oh my!

We've finally arrived at our last birthday post of the year.  I'm sure you're all very relieved.  That's the great thing about having 3 kids whose birthdays are all within 10 days.... it's crazy for a few weeks, but then we don't have to do it again for a whole year!

We've already covered their individual birthdays, so this is their big, combined family birthday party.  I've never been able to get them to all agree on one gender-neutral theme, so we stuck with dolphins for Adeline, rainbow unicorns for Millie, and Tate requested football.

My attempt at a football cake.  
Fortunately, football shapes aren't so difficult to cut out.  Unfortunately, my homemade icing was a little too runny so the lacing on the football was a little smeary.

Since the girls had each already had their own cakes at their friend parties, we combined theirs onto one big cookie cake.

 Party time!
We started out with lunch.

Then moved on to presents.
The kids were ready and eager to dive into the wagon of gifts!

A Flashpad from Nana and Baba! A great car activity!

And Twinkle Toes too! Here she's hitting the bottoms to show how they light up, hence the blurriness.

Millie got a new dollie from Nana and Baba,

complete with a handmade dress and nightie!

And Tate scored big with his very own Lego set from Nana and Baba!

Then ALL the grandkids got a big surprise from Nana and Baba...


Looks like Uncle Trent was pretty excited about that too.

Time for cake!

Another birthday season is now behind us.  Glad that the craziness is over... but sad because now my babies are 3, 5 and 7!  Is it just me, or does it sometimes seem like life is in fast-forward?  Where's that pause button when I need it?!  :(

Thursday, September 13, 2012

adeline's dolphin party

Adeline turned the ripe ol' age of 7 on September 3rd.  I know - SE-VEN!  I can't believe my firstborn  has already reached an age that requires two syllables!

As you can see, she was pretty excited about it:

But she was probably mostly excited about her "little" party.  As you may recall, she had her first big "friend party" last year, and we had told her that this year it would be much smaller.  Like just a few friends hanging out.  No big deal.  Really.  

Well... Addie is too much like her mother when it comes to party planning.  By the time her Wizard of Oz party was barely over last year, she was already in the works of planning her Dolphin Swim Party for this year (she's a HUGE fan of the movie Dolphin Tale - like maybe even obsessed).  I kept reminding her that it was going to be teensy weensy.  That there really was NO need for planning because it was really more like just having a few friends over to go swimming.  But all throughout the year she was making lists of different dolphin game ideas, songs to play, snacks to have, decorations to make, etc, etc, etc.  I didn't want to crush her dreams and thwart her party planning capabilities. But I also knew Millie was having her big party just a week before and I really didn't want to have a mental breakdown.  So we came to a compromise of sorts.  She could have 3 friends over (I had originally said 2, but then realized that would make an odd number and that's never good in such a small group of young girls) and I would make a cake and have a few snacks, but she would have to do the decorating, games and activities.  She was all about that.  So here's what it ended up looking like:

By her request - a dolphin cookie cake.  Complete with 2 kissing dolphins and a "Lego Addie" lounging on the beach with an ice cream shake under an umbrella.

The lovely decorations.  Okay, so I did make the banner, but all the dolphin masterpieces are completely her own.

We decided whales would make a nice snack for a dolphin party.

Another request - dolphin-shaped cookies.  Fortunately she already had a "toy" dolphin cookie cutter.  It wasn't the best, but it worked.

You'll notice the lovely dolphin mosaics on the tables.  Those were craft kits sent by Nana B. before her birthday so she could make them to use as decorations.
The napkins and cups we already had, but I did splurge a tad and bought the plates when I ordered stuff for Millie's party from Oriental Trading.  But they were still only $3 for 8, so I guess it wasn't that much of a splurge.

The one other thing I bought was the party favors.  The whale boxes were in the Dollar Spot at Target, the stuffed dolphins were from the Dollar Tree and the goldfish and M&Ms we already had.  So, a total of $6 on party favors.

And here are the guests!
Little sis Millie (she was a freebie), cousin Clara, a friend from her 1st grade class and one from her 2nd grade class.  A pretty good mix.  And they all got along really well too, considering nobody really knew each other.

This is a better picture of how they really acted:

 They all got "inked up" in our dolphin tattoo parlor....

And played "Pin the Tail on Winter" (If you've seen the movie, this will make more sense to you)...

Had some yummy food...

Opened presents...


So, it was fun.  But still more work than I had anticipated after just finishing up Millie's big party.  We told Addie that the next time we say, "small party," it'll be just ONE friend over for pizza, a movie and possibly a sleep over.  I thought she'd be sad about that, but she seemed almost more excited at that possibility.  Wish I would've known that a few weeks ago... ;)

After her friends left, we had dinner and then celebrated her birthday as a family.  And no, I wasn't about to make yet another cake, so we just cut some pieces from her party cake.

She was pretty excited about her Lego Friends sets.  Since their birthdays, these girls have been building with their new legos like crazy!

She was also pretty excited to try out her new Dolphinz Petz Nintendo DS game.  Anything dolphin-related is the key to this girl's heart. ;)

So now that makes 3 birthdays and 2 parties down.  1 party (our big, combined family one) left to go.  Those pics to come soon!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

millie's rainbow unicorn party

On August 26, our little Millie Jean turned 5!

This was the year for her first "friend" party, and she was set on a rainbow unicorn theme.  And incase you didn't know, I LOVE to plan parties.  I know many of you already saw these pics on facebook, so I'm sorry to be repetitive, but I wanted to document it on my blog too.  So, here are all the details:

I had a hard time finding a rainbow unicorn for the cake topper, so I found a plastic horse at the Dollar Tree, hot-glued a screw to the head and spray-painted it all white (an idea I saw on this blog).  Then I used my kids' crayola paint to add the rainbow-colored accents.  Since I really don't enjoy trying to decorate cakes, I decided to just cover the cake with rainbow Skittles, which was a big hit with the kids.

I couldn't leave the inside of the cake just plain white, so I did the same thing that I did last year with Adeline's Wizard of Oz cake - and made it a rainbow.

The food table

For drinks, we did rainbow-colored Sprite.  

I didn't want to spend a lot of money on glass bottles (even though I like the look better), so I just bought a pack of the mini plastic Sunkist bottles, emptied the contents into a pitcher and peeled off the labels.  Then I poured in the Sprite, added a drop or two of food coloring and added the fun straws.

The rainbow fruit tray, same as the one I did for Addie's party last year, but this time I added big marshmallows for clouds, which the girls LOVED of course.  :)

Then we finished it off with rainbow Twizzlers, Bugles (because they look like mini unicorn horns) and rainbow-striped sour candy strips.

I don't like a ton of matchy-matchy party decor, so I decided to just do these plates from Oriental Trading Co.  I ordered them when they had free shipping for any size orders, so they were pretty inexpensive.

I handmade her banner with good ol' cardstock and a color printer.

My favorite part of the whole party was the rainbow canopy set up over the table.

This was done with cheap plastic tablecloths, cut in half and tacked to the ceiling.  Most of the colors were at the Dollar Tree and the rest were at Hobby Lobby for $2, so the whole canopy only cost about $8.

Of course we had to decorate with unicorns too!  This little beauty was just begging to be the center of attention.

So I surrounded her with white ramekins filled with rainbow colored beads for the craft.  Pretty, yet functional.

I prepared the girls' plates ahead of time with most of the supplies they would need to make their rainbow unicorn bracelets.  This makes craft time go much smoother!
These silver unicorn charms were found on eBay.  I think I spent under $2 for 10.  And we already had the rainbow colored beads.

Rainbow Brite and her unicorn friends came to join us as well.

They stood guard over the party favors.
These bags were on clearance at Target for dirt cheap, and I just used our printer to make the personalized labels.

Inside the bags were rainbow unicorn stickers and rubber duckies from Oriental Trading and rainbow unicorn lollipops from Amazon.  I made unicorn coloring books by googling "free unicorn coloring pages," copying and pasting the images into Word and printing them double sided.  Easy peasy lemon squeezy.

 I also made this "Pin the Horn on the Unicorn" party game by finding an image of a horse and printing it at 600%.  Then I just used marker to color on the rainbow details.

Millie had spent hours upon hours coloring and painting rainbows and unicorns with which to decorate her party, so of course we included those in the decorations too!

We had unicorn coloring pages ready for the girls to work on as they arrived, because there's always a few guests that come late and we didn't want the others to get antsy!

This sweet little unicorn sat by the entry handing out sparkly unicorn horns to all the girls.
These horns were made with sparkly craft foam, sequined ribbon, rainbow colored elastic and hot glue.

The beautiful birthday girl!

Millie with her cousin Ruby and big sis Addie, waiting for the guests to arrive!

Showing off the glittery unicorn tattoos that all the guests would receive.

As the guests arrived, they picked out a horn, got tattooed and then colored their unicorn picture.

Craft time!

Pin the Horn on the Unicorn!
After the first 3 girls got their horns so close, I realized that the scarf was see-through!  Oops.

Easiest way to transition between activities - play with balloons!

This next game has become my all-time favorite kids' party game.  I learned about it from my British friend, Clare.  The original version is called Dead Lions.  We changed the name to Sleeping Unicorns to suit our party theme.  It pretty much is what it sounds like.  The goal is to lay absolutely still.  The last one left without moving wins!  Of course, Chad and I loved this game (it was sooo quiet!), but amazingly enough, the kids did too!

Another fun, easy game - Statue.  One person poses and the rest have to match the pose.  The winner is the last one still holding the pose.

Then it was time for the cake!
Don't mind the dripping Skittles...  We were gone for a few days before the party, so I had to make the cake ahead and freeze it.  I didn't really think about what that would do to the skittles... :(

Licking the frosting off the unicorn's feet. :)

The whole unicorn gang.

 The best part was how much fun Millie had at the party.  Five girls from her kindergarten class were able to come, which was so great for her to get to know them better and help her to be less nervous for school.

That night we had a much smaller celebration with our family.
She was a little tired so we gave her some chocolate ice cream to revive her.  ;)

Adeline surprised us all by giving Millie her stuffed unicorn.  Addie has had this since she was 4, but decided Millie would appreciate it more now.  How sweet is that?!  Made this mama heart swell with pride. :)

She was super excited about her unicorn birthday card from us.
It's the little things, right?  ;)

This was probably her favorite gift of all - her very own Lego set!
Between this and her Lego Friends sets from Nana and Papa, she's been building like crazy for the past few weeks!

So, that was Millie's birthday.   A lot of preparation, but a ton of fun!  

Birthday #2 done.  1 birthday and 2 parties left to go!  
(They've already happened - thank goodness! - I just have yet to blog about them!)